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The Politician recap binge guide: Episodes 1-4

After months of teasing, Ryan Murphy’s highly-anticipated Election-esque Netflix serie The Politician is here. Follow along with our binge-watch of the series: Episode 1: “Pilot” Payton Hobart (Ben Platt) wants to be president. Eventually, President of the United States. But first, student body president of Saint Sebastian High School. We’re introduced to Payton during his…

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The Politician recap binge guide: Episodes 1-4

After months of teasing, Ryan Murphy’s highly-anticipated Election-esque Netflix serie The Politician is here. Follow along with our binge-watch of the series:
Episode 1: “Pilot”
Payton Hobart (Ben Platt) wants to be president. Eventually, President of the United States. But first, student body president of Saint Sebastian High School.
We’re introduced to Payton during his Harvard admission interview, during which he reveals that his entire life revolves around his ambition to become president one day, which includes attending Harvard. He’s carefully studied the trajectory of past presidents — well, up to Reagan, as it was he who “established the modern presidency” — to mimic the best patterns of success in his quest to fulfill his destiny. However, when the dean asks Payton about himself, his passions and interests outside of his presidential dream, the calculated college student falters.

Payton later learns he’s been waitlisted at the school, a fate “worse” than rejection — in his words. Sure, his Winklevoss-esque brothers — who relish in reminding Payton he’s adopted — bought their way in with their family’s vast wealth, and Payton is intent on appearing self-made. But his waitlist from Harvard isn’t the only hiccup in his master plan…

Payton has a very compelling opponent for student body president: the athletic, handsome, and (more) popular, River (David Corenswet). His candidacy, under the direction of his girlfriend Astrid (Lucy Boynton), throws Payton and his equally ambitious friends — err, campaign staff — into crisis. While everything Payton does is steeped in precision and practice, River’s casual authenticity easily wins over their Saint Sebastian classmates. During their debate, River captivates the audience by revealing a suicide attempt the previous year, as a shocked Payton looks on.

But River’s campaign also has a calculated branch in the form of Astrid, Payton’s nemesis. Under her guidance, River chooses Skye (Rahne Jones), a gender-nonconforming black classmate to be his VP, a move team Payton views as a clever polling strategy. Seeing his campaign in freefall, Payton again confronts his opponent, his earlier threats having fallen flat. After apologizing and professing his love for Payton, River takes his own life in front of his opponent.

In a brief flashback to 18 months prior, we learn a little bit about Payton and River’s relationship. With her son struggling in Mandarin, Georgina Hobart (Gwyneth Paltrow) hires River to tutor Payton. After a brief conversation in Mandarin, River is able to cut through to Payton’s deeply-hidden vulnerable side and the two kiss. Astrid confronts Payton in the library, revealing River told her everything. She’s fine with it — she’s “aware of [River’s] fluidity” — but wants to be present, inviting him over for a threesome.

At River’s memorial, Payton sings a moving cover of Joni Mitchell’s “River,” reducing the entire student body to tears. Taking the stage, Astrid (who blames Payton for River’s death) announces that she’ll be running for student body president in her late boyfriend’s stead — Payton’s worst nightmare. And thus, his search for VP continues.

To help with his polling numbers, Payton’s Harvard-bound “first lady” Alice (Julia Schlaepfer) decides the pair need to stage a break-up — with her announcing her infidelity — to garner Payton some sympathy.

Payton is set on having Infinity Jackson (Zoey Deutch), a child-like, cancer-stricken classmate, serve as his running mate. While her attention-seeking grandmother (Jessica Lange) is immediately on-board, Payton finally wins Infinity over by breaking down in tears about River’s death at their kitchen table.
But just when it seems Payton’s campaign is back on track, classmate Andrew reveals that Infinity is lying about her illness.

Episode Notes:

Sufjan Stevens’ “Chicago” is an excellent choice for a title track.
Welcome back to the Murphy-verse Jessica Lange! 
This episode issues an important reminder to always make a reservation at the Olive Garden.
Georgina Hobart is definitely a dedicated Goop subscriber
Smart play by Murphy and co. to make good use of Ben Platt’s angelic voice immediately.

Episode 2: “The Harrington Commode”
While Payton is confident in Infinity’s ability to get him elected, McAfee (Laura Dreyfuss) and James (Theo Germaine) are wary — after all, Saint Sebastian does not need an Eagleton Affair. With Andrew’s warning in mind and the election looming, the trio decides to move forward with Infinity, and if she is, in fact, faking her illness, they’ll swiftly ax her.

But the campaign strategy meeting is interrupted when Payton learns his father Keaton (Bob Balaban) has jumped out of a window at the family mansion after his mother asked for a divorce. He’s now in a medically-induced coma.
At a campaign event to fundraise for a harassment czar, Payton seizes the opportunity to ask Infinity about her cancer, of which she doesn’t know the specifics. When she collapses, he accompanies her to the hospital, where their photo op is interrupted by Nana, who makes a scene removing Infinity from the hospital. Outside, Payton is confronted once more by Andrew, who continues to raise concerns about his running mate. He reveals he told two teachers about his suspicions regarding Infinity’s mystery cancer but was punished for bullying. He ominously encourages Payton to “follow the bloodwork.”

When Payton relays this new information to McAfee and James, they quickly shut him down, warning that he needs plausible deniability in case the truth comes out. But when Payton arrives at Infinity’s house, he sees Nana shaving her head. Over dinner, Nana reveals she and Infinity want compensation for their part in the campaign — specifically, a Disney cruise. While Infinity briefly disappears to see her secret boyfriend, Ricardo, Payton asks Nana if Infinity is actually sick… which goes about as well as you would suspect and ends with Payton scampering from the house while Nana throws medical documents after him.

Meanwhile, Payton’s twin brothers — the ridiculously named Martin and Luther — are taking their father’s precarious medical situation as an opportunity to try to cut Payton and their mother out of the will. But when Payton warns them that their father is improving, the pair devise a plan to commit patricide. The scheme goes awry when, as the twins squabble about the Menendez 9-1-1 call and who will hold the pillow, their dad reveals he’s awake and the coma was a ruse. The twins are left with nothing — save the titular Harrington Commode, a tax nightmare antique. And when Payton’s dad tells his mother that if she doesn’t leave him, he’ll do everything in his power to make Payton’s dreams come true, she calls the divorce off.

McAfee does some digging and determines Infinity may have Munchausen by proxy. But there’s only one way to truly find out: “follow the bloodwork.” Under McAfee’s direction, Payton organizes a fake blood drive to collect a sample.
Payton is haunted by River’s death, and while practicing piano, imagines River is playing with him. River reassures him that he doesn’t have to be a good person as long as he does good things. His thoughts are interrupted by the arrival of Harvard officials, who reveal he’s off the waitlist… for a price. Specifically, a Slavic languages department.

Later, McAfee meets James and Payton with the blood test results: Infinity doesn’t have cancer. Or any illness. Now what?
Episode notes: 

Someone call Operation Varsity Blues because —fake rowing scholarships or not — these Harvard officials are very overtly breaking the law.
Fans of The Act will be thrilled to see Murphy and co. weaving a little true crime into this political thriller as Nana and Infinity bear some eerie resemblance to Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose Blanchard.

Episode 3: “October Surprise”
The episode opens with a flashback to the previous year, when a tense Payton is studying for a debate competition. River approaches and reassures Payton, helping him through some breathing exercises and reminding him that he’s going to change the world. In the present, Payton continues the breathing exercises before meeting with the Harvard admission team. Payton’s in Boston to play hardball: accept him on his merits or watch as he breaks ground on his billion-dollar presidential library in New Haven or Palo Alto. Stunningly, this pays off as the admissions team relents and accepts him to Harvard. When he goes to tell Alice about his acceptance, he discovers she’s been having an affair with James.

While Team Payton is sitting on a major bombshell that could derail the campaign, Team Astrid is at a frustrating crossroads: she’s ahead but barely, and anything could tip the election towards Payton. Skye, frustrated at Astrid’s inaction, suggests killing Payton.
Payton and company may think they have a lid on the Infinity situation, but Andrew’s running his own game, confronting Infinity’s sleazy boyfriend Ricardo about his theory. Dubious at first, Ricardo’s ultimately convinced as Andrew laments at how Nana and Payton are using Infinity. Ricardo scoffs, “What am I supposed to do, kill them?” But that seems exactly what Andrew has in mind.

Ricardo tries to make a sex tape with Infinity, but the tape is eaten, prompting them to watch the tape from Nana and Infinity’s trip to Busch Gardens instead. In the video, Ricardo sees Nana get upset and derail a news interview after a reporter asks about her daughter’s cancer, while an irritable Infinity calls the reporter a “buttmunch.”

Meanwhile, Astrid plays tennis with her terrible father (Dylan McDermott), who calls her cold — a compliment — and suggests she caused River’s death. Calling Payton a “true politician,” he advises that she lean into the cold and use it for political gain. But she immediately falls for a trap set by Team Payton: James had turned to Martin and Luther under the guise of sharing a common enemy in Payton, and they unknowingly took fake information to Astrid. After embarrassing Astrid and Skye, Payton announces his gun control policy, which involves him purchasing every gun from a local store and announcing legislation in River’s name.

Ricardo approaches Astrid, offering the Busch Gardens video as a means to derail Payton’s campaign. Alarmed by a late-night phone call from the editor of the school paper asking for comment regarding Infinity’s use of an “offensive gay slur” in the video, Team Payton confronts Infinity about the remark, only to learn they’re too late and the video has been uploaded to the internet.

Reeling from this latest roadblock, Payton goes to Alice and the pair reconcile. Agreeing to a fresh start, Payton explains his obsession with River — revealing that in the wake of his death, he’s continued to “see” River, who dispels non-specific advice and words of encouragement. Oh, and Infinity’s faking her illness.
Feeling betrayed by Ricardo for giving over the tape, Infinity breaks up with him. Devastated, he breaks into Astrid’s house and seemingly kidnaps her.

Episode Notes:

Between Skye and Andrew’s overt suggestions of murder, Astrid’s presumed kidnapping, and the Hobart twins’ thwarted patricide attempt in episode 2, it seems someone(s) may be murdered by the end of the season.
Payton shouting that he was going to kill Astrid in a crowded diner just before she’s kidnapped is definitely going to come back to haunt him.
Martin Hobart delivers one of the most chilling lines of the series thus far. Upon being told the world was finished with entitled white men: “The world will never be finished with entitled white men. That’s why we’re so entitled.”

Episode 4: “Gone Girl”
Astrid is missing but her parents (McDermott and January Jones) have much bigger issues, namely themselves. Still, they believe Payton to be responsible and are willing to do whatever — or pay whatever — they need to take him down. 
Meanwhile, Team Payton is still dealing with the damage from Infinity’s damning Busch Gardens video. With a loss imminent, they decide they have no choice but to cut Infinity loose from the ticket. Adding to the stress is James — vehemently opposed to digging into Andrew’s claims about Infinity from the start — who reminds McAfee and Payton of the ramifications of their knowing the truth about Infinity’s cancer (or lack thereof), should this ever get out.

While his campaign co-chairs continue their search for a new VP, Payton goes to break the bad news to Infinity but is first taken into custody regarding Astrid’s disappearance. It doesn’t take long for Payton’s diner outburst to make its way to the police. After being locked in an interview room, Payton is taken away in the trunk of a police car, where it’s revealed the police have been bought, once again… this time by Payton’s parents in exchange for his safe, press-free release. After asking Payton if he did, in fact, kidnap and murder Astrid, Georgina vows to do whatever it takes to ensure Payton achieve his goals — while lamenting her personal cost to seeing his victory.

Meanwhile, Skye hosts a vigil for the still-missing Astrid, vowing to run in her place. But it seems that Astrid is a regular old Amy Dunne, faking her disappearance — with the help of her new lover, Ricardo — and taking off to New York, with the hope that Payton is sent to prison. But Payton is cleared of wrongdoing by Alice, who makes her public return by providing him with a (false) alibi — expertly passing a polygraph.

Infinity meets with Payton in a church, where, despite her apologies, he tells her she’s off the ticket and that he thinks she has Munchausen by proxy. While she’s in disbelief, he tells her about the blood test and warns her against accepting her grandmother’s treatment. Infinity confronts Nana — at the Olive Garden, no less! — about Munchausen by proxy, adding that she was fired from the campaign. Nana repeatedly denies the claims — blaming Payton and Ricardo, among others, of taking advantage of her. Infinity continues questioning the obviously-dubious medical care she’s been receiving and reveals Payton’s blood test results. Bored in New York and missing Infinity, Ricardo vows to return to her, encouraging Astrid to also go home and finish her campaign.

Fresh from her disappearance, Astrid returns to Santa Barbara, revealing to her mom that she staged the kidnapping. While her mom wants to pin the whole excursion on Ricardo, Astrid says the experience changed her and she’s determined to win the election as a “woman of the people.” Unfortunately for Astrid, the honesty route backfires politically, costing her the lead given by the Busch Gardens tape and causing Skye to abandon Astrid’s campaign in favor of Payton’s. While Skye offers to be Payton’s VP, he isn’t so sure and needs time to think it over, despite the election being a day away. However, McAfee, who is secretly seeing Skye, promises to make it happen.

Episode notes:

Adding to the growing death threat count is Nana, who threatens to kill Ricardo — for all of Olive Garden to hear.
Not gonna lie, I was a little surprised that Astrid just let Ricardo leave New York, giving him an extra hundred dollars for his aid in her disappearance. I’m still convinced there’s a very good shot any number of these characters are going to kill/be killed.
We’ve already reached the eve of election day just four episodes in. We can only expect the remaining four episodes to follow the chaotic fallout from the results.

Related content:

Everything you need to know about Netflix’s The Politician
Netflix added more warnings to 13 Reasons Why
Ryan Murphy’s The Politician struggles to stay on message: Review
Meet Jessica Lange’s conniving, Olive Garden-loving grandma inThe Politician clip

Everything you need to know about Netflix’s The Politician
Netflix added more warnings to 13 Reasons Why
Ryan Murphy’s The Politician struggles to stay on message: Review
Meet Jessica Lange’s conniving, Olive Garden-loving grandma inThe Politician clip

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‘I am woman’ singer Helen Reddy has died

The Australian singer was also known for “Delta Dawn” and “Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady.”A film biography of Reddy’s rise from single mother in New York City to hit artist — titled “I Am Woman” — premiered last month. The film stars Tilda Cobham-Hervey as Reddy and features a new song by Reddy’s…

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‘I am woman’ singer Helen Reddy has died

The Australian singer was also known for “Delta Dawn” and “Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady.”A film biography of Reddy’s rise from single mother in New York City to hit artist — titled “I Am Woman” — premiered last month. The film stars Tilda Cobham-Hervey as Reddy and features a new song by Reddy’s granddaughter Lily Donat.’);$vidEndSlate.removeClass(‘video__end-slate–inactive’).addClass(‘video__end-slate–active’);}};CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === true) ? true : false;var configObj = {thumb: ‘none’,video: ‘tv/2020/09/09/helen-reddy-bio-pic-i-am-woman.cnn’,width: ‘100%’,height: ‘100%’,section: ‘domestic’,profile: ‘expansion’,network: ‘cnn’,markupId: ‘body-text_6’,theoplayer: {allowNativeFullscreen: true},adsection: ‘const-article-inpage’,frameWidth: ‘100%’,frameHeight: ‘100%’,posterImageOverride: 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Helen Reddy, singer behind feminist anthem ‘I Am Woman,’ dies at 78

Helen Reddy, the 1970s pop star and cultural icon behind the hit song “I Am Woman,” has died at 78. Reddy died Tuesday afternoon at her home in Los Angeles. Her children, Traci Donat and Jordan Summers, confirmed the news on Reddy’s official Facebook page, writing, ″It is with deep sadness that we announce the…

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Helen Reddy, singer behind feminist anthem ‘I Am Woman,’ dies at 78

Helen Reddy, the 1970s pop star and cultural icon behind the hit song “I Am Woman,” has died at 78.
Reddy died Tuesday afternoon at her home in Los Angeles. Her children, Traci Donat and Jordan Summers, confirmed the news on Reddy’s official Facebook page, writing, ″It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Helen Reddy, on the afternoon of September 29th 2020 in Los Angeles. She was a wonderful Mother, Grandmother and a truly formidable woman. Our hearts are broken. But we take comfort in the knowledge that her voice will live on forever.″

Australian-born Reddy was regarded as a queen of 1970s pop, reigning as the world’s top-selling female singer in 1973 and 1974. Her biggest hit, 1971’s ″I Am Woman,″ catapulted Reddy to new heights as a feminist icon, and the song became the unofficial anthem of the women’s movement, still often played and quoted from at women’s marches today. Reddy won a Grammy for the song, and famously caused a stir by thanking God, ″because she makes everything possible.″

Her other hits included ″Delta Dawn,″ ″Angie Baby,″ Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress),″ and ″Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady.″
Reddy also made waves on screen, starring in her own weekly television variety program, The Helen Reddy Show. She also starred in Disney’s Pete Dragon, in which she sang the Oscar-nominated ″Candle On the Water.″ Reddy was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in Airport 1975.

She was the subject of the biopic I Am Woman, which was released this month and stars Tilda Cobham-Hervey as Reddy.
Helen Reddy was born into a well-known show business family on Oct. 25, 1941, in Melbourne. Her mother was an actress, and her father was a writer, producer, and actor. From the age of 4, Reddy joined her parents as a performer on the Australian vaudeville circuit.

In 1966, Reddy came to New York City after winning a talent contest on Australian television show Bandstand, which touted its top prize as a chance to cut a single for Mercury Records in New York. When she arrived, with only $200 to her name and a return ticket to Australia, she was told that the prize was only a chance to audition — and Mercury did not wish to record a single with her.

She struggled for several years, performing in night clubs. Reddy famously met her husband and manager Jeff Wald at a party a friend threw for her that charged an admission price of $5 to help Reddy make her rent and afford to stay in the United States. The couple relocated to Los Angeles in 1969, and Wald eventually began to find success as a manager for musical groups.

After pressure from Reddy, Wald helped kickstart her recording career. She scored a hit with the B-side to her second single, a cover of ″I Don’t Know How to Love Him,″ from the rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar. Following the success of that single, Reddy signed a recording contract with Capitol Records.
″I Am Woman″ was to become her biggest success and her first No. 1 hit. She wrote the iconic lyrics, ″I am woman, hear me roar/In numbers too big to ignore″ and paired it with music penned by Ray Burton. The song made her the first Australian singer to ever top the U.S. music charts.

Throughout the 1970s, Reddy had over a dozen Top 40 hits, including two more No. 1s, ″Delta Dawn″ and ″Angie Baby.″ 1983’s Imagination marked her final original album as a recording artist, coming just after the finalization of her divorce from Wald, whose interference she cited as the reason for the decline of her career in the 1980s.
In addition to numerous guest-starring roles and appearances on various television series and variety shows, Reddy semi-regularly hosted NBC’s variety show The Midnight Special from 1973 to 1975. Throughout the 1980s, she also embarked on a successful career in musicals on Broadway and in London’s West End.

Reddy officially retired from show business in 2002, though she did occasionally make appearances, making a voice cameo as herself in a 2007 episode of Family Guy and performing in small nightclubs and at benefit performances. She found a second career as a practicing clinical hypnotherapist.
In 2006, she published the memoir The Woman I Am.
One of her final public performances came in 2017, where she was a guest at the Women’s March in downtown Los Angeles. Reddy was introduced by Jamie Lee Curtis and broke into an a capella rendition of ″I Am Woman.″

Reddy was diagnosed with dementia in August 2015.
She is survived by her daughter, Traci, and son, Jordan, as well as her granddaughter Lily, who made a cameo appearance in I Am Woman.
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Rose Leslie, Kit Harington and Sophie Turner baby news

“Game of Thrones” stars have been busy since the phenomenally popular HBO series went off the air in 2019 (HBO is owned by CNN’s parent company).Rose Leslie has revealed that she and her husband, “GOT” co-star Kit Harington, are expecting their first child.The couple played star-crossed lovers Ygritte and Jon Snow on the series and…

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Rose Leslie, Kit Harington and Sophie Turner baby news

“Game of Thrones” stars have been busy since the phenomenally popular HBO series went off the air in 2019 (HBO is owned by CNN’s parent company).Rose Leslie has revealed that she and her husband, “GOT” co-star Kit Harington, are expecting their first child.The couple played star-crossed lovers Ygritte and Jon Snow on the series and married in 2018.Leslie debuted her baby bump in the new issue of the UK magazine, Make, which noted “Not many people can pull off a Stella McCartney floor-length silk frock and a fashion shoot when expecting a baby but Rose Leslie shows no sign of fatigue.”She and Harington are well-known for being private and she told the publication that they have been quarantining in their new Tudor manor house in East Anglia which she jokingly called “the house that Jon Snow built.””It’s incredibly old. We have a thatched roof, which currently has an enormous hornet’s nest in it,” she said. “I do love to think about the house and all the people who have lived there. Were they happy, how did they live? All the families passing under those ancient beams.”The magazine notes that “After years of living in New York, it’s a return to nature for Rose and a chance to set up home with her husband, and new baby.””What a glorious thing to be able to run to the countryside and recoup,” she said. “It’s a great privilege to be surrounded by greenery, birdsong and hedgerows, and our delightful neighbours. It’s so peaceful.” Meanwhile their “Game of Thrones” co-star Sophie Turner shared some throwback photos of her pregnancy over the weekend on her verified Instagram account.Turner and her husband, singer Joe Jonas, welcomed their first child, daughter Willa, in July.

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